The Queen’s English and Proofreading Your Novel

proofreader, self-publish, books, editing

Cottage Garden in Tissington, Derbyshire


How do I proofread my book for overseas?


This will be rather short today, but it follows along the lines that I have stressed, which are hiring a great copy editor, line editor and proofreader. In doing my research for the self-publishing posts, I sent an email to someone in the UK concerning the use of “while” vs. “whilst” and “curb” vs. “kerb”. I had happened to be reading a book at the time from a British author who used all of the above, but “curb”. She was not following any of my advise for her story structure which fell apart half of the way through the manuscript. Not only did she not hire a proofreader, she was  inconsistent. An absolute “no-no”!!!
In my research for the self-publishing series, I wondered what is to become of authors that send their books overseas. Whether we are sending it “from here over to there
or “there over to here”, the question still stands as to what to do about the difference in spelling. Particularly “while” and “whilst” and “kerb” and “curb”.

Skipping the “how-do-you-dos”,here is Matt Male from Future-Perfect and his response to my inquiry:

Future Perfect is an English grammar consultancy, specialising in vetting companies’ written communications. English is often the only element of a document’s production without a top expert’s input. The design, colour, font, stock and message are all scrutinised by experts, yet the final copy is often not vetted beyond the level of the copywriter/proofreader or layman specifically for grammar, spelling, syntax and consistency. Working at an advanced level (usually after agencies, copywriters, proofreaders and legal experts), Future Perfect ensures that written communications are afforded specific technical and structural expertise in English, to complement the huge team effort which goes into all other elements of their production. Vetting will apply structure, without altering the intended style of a text, to achieve quality and consistency, creating the right impression – first time.

Matt is the founder of Future Perfect. I was horrified to find out that double spacing went out in the sixties. I thought it was the eighties. But I still can’t stop doing it. Though you will notice I didn’t use it in the paragraph.   Let’s try the BBC website and specifically, an episode of “The Grammar Police/Ask Tom” to see exactly how much nearly everyone goofs up one way or another. We are all in this together.


While it seems that Future Perfect doesn’t proofread novels, they do pretty much everything else!. So what is the answer to our quest? In this increasingly small world, it seems the best way is to hire an editor who writes and proofreads in both languages. In the coming resource post, I have some that I will share with you and their work is spot-on.

And an emphatic addendum to Word Geek Monday from The Urban Dictionary : The phrase is “for all intents and purposes”, and is NOT “for all intensive purposes”. I will dial emergency on this one if it is not drilled into every head that wishes to use this phrase. If you are speaking of the Intensive Care Ward at the local hospital and you wish to give them a large sum of money, then yes, by all means, use the mangled phrase. No money to give, you say? Well then, use the correct phrasing.

de facto: The phrase is a corruption of “for all intents and purposes” by persons who have heard the phrase, but have not read it in it’s proper form. It means “for all intents, and for all purposes.”de jure: Taken literally, the phrase means “for purposes which are intense. All purposes which are not intense are not included.” This is almost completely opposite to what is meant by most people, and is why it is imperative that persons use the proper phrase.

The Wise Geek weighs in on the matter:

The phrase for all intents and purposes or to all intents and purposes is often used in a variety of circumstances. It tends to mean under most usual circumstances, in most practical situations, or for purposes that are practical. Another interpretation could be in practical situations.

The phrase originated in legal language in the 1500s, and it may have been first used in court cases in England. The initial wording may have been “to all intents, constructions and purposes.” Some point out that pluralizing “intent” is unnecessary since the word can be singular or plural without an “s” at the end, such as “his intent” or “their intent.”

In the modern sense, this phrase could be used in the following example. A person is interviewing for a job, and the boss wants to hire him. She might say, “We still need to check your references, but for all intents and purposes, the job is yours.” Provided the applicants references are fine, he has landed the job and, under practical considerations, he can consider himself employed.
Unfortunately, the phrase has gotten a little more complicated because of the numerous misquotes or malapropisms that are used in its place. One common substitution is “for all intensive purposes.” This is very commonly used, and it means something almost directly opposite to the original phrase’s meaning of “for practical purposes.” puts it squarely in history:


When researching the development of a phrase it is usually the origin that is difficult to determine; the spelling and the meaning are generally pretty well established. With ‘for (or to) all intents and purposes’ it is the other way about. The origin is unambiguous, as the first recorded use was in an Act of Parliament under Henry VIII, in 1546:

“to all intents, constructions, and purposes

Welcome to all of my new subscribers! (Do know I’m only stern on Mondays 😉 I hope everyone is taking just a few minutes to write down a bit more in your outline and manuscript. Keep up the good work!

Image credit:  JR P via Compfight

20 Shout to the Rooftop Tips for Your Book Launch Day

book marketing
How to market your book
Your job now is to make your book stand out from this pile.


 As writers, we do not lack creativity.

We’ve lived in our imaginations and worlds of words all of our lives.

But marketing takes a very different brain “muscle” to be exercised.
Creativity, lucky for us, is also one of the greatest aspects of marketing. It requires taking everyday, run-of-the-mill thinking and ratcheting the connections to seemingly disparate subjects and events to tie them together; creating a brand new opportunity to spread the word about a product. In our case, that product is our book. Our baby that we’ve worked so hard on for so long.
Who wouldn’t want to spread the word or shout it from the highest mountain-tops? Okay, maybe rock climbing shouldn’t be added to the list, but here are twenty suggestions, some you might have heard before and some that hopefully get you thinking along new lines.
Without further ado…

1. Get into a group (see World Literture Cafe) that tweets out things about your book

2. Put pictures of your book up on all social sites, yes, even Pinterest. Remember, you want to be everywhere. This is what the publishers do for major books, you can’t open a paper-or an app these days and not see the new book on the release date.

3.Go into Amazon’s Author Central and put in reviews, tweak your page, remember my advice about professional tweets at this time as they will show up on your author pages.

4.Whether you have set up a Google Page or a Facebook fan page, visit these at least three times a day for your launch period to add reviews, blurbs from reviews and to interact with anyone who visits.

5.Throw a Twitter Party with relevant Twitter followers. I have not seen this done for book launches, but I think if you use some creativity and find a reason, for instance, a contest winner or a discussion of current events in the area of digital publications, you might just start a trend. Remember to set up a visual invitation and –yes,  you know what I’m going to say now– put your book cover art on  it alone with the relevant words. You can see how to do this in this excellent pdf:

 6.Set up an Evernote Account: If you don’t have Evernote on your computer, I suggest downloading it now and setting up a Book Marketing folder. There is a tool in Evernote that allows you to put in a check box for what you have accomplished and for what still needs to get done. You can get onto your Evernote account with your username and password through the interwebs say, at work or through your web browser on your phone; however, it is easier to download the Evernote app on your phone. There is a free and paid version but the free version gives you a great deal of memory and a usage dial for the month. Start an account now. It is always best to keep everything in one place. You can save articles with the Evernote clipper and easily refer back to them with the appropriate tags for each note in your folders. I recommend this over any note app or reminder app as this is an all-in-one tool for you. You can also set up IFFT recipes for your Gmail account. See the “trunk” in Evernote for setting up these recipes.

7.Keep a list of anyone who has helped you from the  research to publication. There will be basically two categories: those whom you want to thank in a personal way and those who you will add to the cover-pages of your book as special mentions and thankyous. You can run over this list every few days;  do this at night when you should be sleeping but won’t have time to sleep. (We’re all grown up; let’s be realistic about this.)

8.This ties into “spreading the word” which you will note is a theme here. Ask these people if they wouldn’t mind helping you spread the word. People who have helped you before are more likely to be happy to help you out again. It’s a proven fact (cognitive dissonance; remember my background ;). So don’t be the shy writer that we all are when we are tuned into our creative selves. Put your business clothes on while doing this if you have to (in the extreme cases-it does help) or just put your game face on. You can do it. And no one is going to buy your books if they don’t know they exist.

9.Run a contest on your blog look at other author pages and see what they did for their contests to get your creative juices flowing. Much of contests are basically additional marketing opportunities. If someone has bought your book (don’t require them to, that’s against the law) then have them take a picture of it (or on their reader with the cover showing).

10.You can also put a signature on appropriate emails, put a picture of your book and a blurb from a reviewer at the bottom of emails if you have Gmail. In marketing terms taken from a war term, you will carpet-bomb the web. Not in a spammy way, but if you want to get noticed and sell books you now have to think like a marketer. Not a writer.

You can do the above in the settings feature of Gmail. Just choose to upload a picture from your file folders in the signature settings and you are good to go. Don’t forget the blurb. Add your link to Amazon and all of the distributors you have set up.

11.Run a GoodReads Contest. You will  need a PoD vender to print a book if you only published via e-book. But it is worth the cost for reviewers. Please see the “note of caution” in this post. If you chose not to get an ISBN for your book, you may have issues with putting it on Goodreads. Though some suggest that you don’t need an ISBN, as the publisher, it is best to get one and you can then get listed in a number of places you wouldn’t be without one. It’s worth it. See this link on how to manually upload your book to Goodreads. Also, here is an overview of how to promote your book on Goodreads.

12.Think of local slants for your book and write to editors of newspapers and any city magazines. They are hurting for help material now so it will be easy to type up an article and ask if they would allow a blurb at the bottom for your book.

13.Get some people together for a Google Plus chat on your book; upload it to your youtube channel

14.Put the books on your YouTube profile.

16.Read Susan Gilbert’s great article “Why Your Author Website Should Include a Media Kit” I am very familiar with these, having been in marketing. In the digital age, they are even easier to put together. Her article explains it perfectly.

17.Do local advertising. Whether fiction or non-fiction, talk to your local library branches about activities they might have available for you. Sign up for mailings from your library now. They schedule these events months in advance, and you want to get on their schedule now.

18.Now is the time where guest posting will pay off–literally. Start thinking of web-sites that you have article ideas for and start outlining the articles now. You don’t necessarily have to have a slant for your book as you can usually put a blurb at the bottom of the article about the book and then one or two web and social site links., but if you do have a slant it will stick in the readers minds more than just the blurb. Pitch this to webmasters at least a month in advance (while your book is at the professional editors) since the administrators will have an editorial calendar set up and filled with their own and other guest posts.

19.Set up Google Alerts for any subject that you will be outlining for the articles above. It is much easier to then outline with a beefy reference list and quotes. This can also be done with local marketing as you can specify the locale you are in or targeting. Remember, locale isn’t always where you are at. Did you write a Southern Mystery? But you live in Minnesota? Target the area where your book is set.

20. Look through your contacts, not only your direct business and personal contacts, but those on Linkedin, those you’ve had long-term relationships with through a blog or forum. Talk to them and ask for suggestions, then see if they are open to helping you promote it. Leave the details open as you don’t want to push something on them but don’t let opportunities slip by you. Are any of your contacts running podcasts or in radio or local tv? Talk to them about any empty spots, even at 3am. Someone is watching. A radio interview gets a captive audience. They are in their cars and, if smart, aren’t on their phones. So they listen to the radio; hopefully the station on which you will be interviewed. Podcasts are wonderful as they can be put up on your site (if it was an interview on another site) as they can be replayed on blogs and reproduced as additional material for giveaways or to market your book. They are also evergreen. Anyone interested in the subject you are discussing on this podcast can download them if  on iTunes and listen to them later on their smartphone or iPod. This can help your sales in the long-haul, which is never a bad thing.

And a note of caution for reviews:

Give them what they asked for:

Professional book reviewers will have a “prefered format” for their book reviews. Easiest for you to send them a PDF? Yes, there is a chance that your reviewer has an iPad or other reading device which makes it easier for them to read say, a PDF. However, I wouldn’t assume anything. It is possible that they know how to download an ePub through Adobe Digital Editions or Calibre; but don’t count on that. Give them what they asked for. The steps above are a pain. Do you want to introduce your book to a reviewer starting out to be a pain? No, of course you don’t. give advance review copies to the respected reviewers


Take a deep breath. This is presenting your baby to the world. You worked hard on this and know what a treat it is; so it will be easy to talk about. it’s not work, it’s an opportunity to spread the word. Write that down and put it on a sticky or a note in your app.

One smart writer I noticed on Twitter today not only thanked someone for a ReTweet, but added the information about her book. Something along the lines of Thanks @soandso for RT The Tale of the Indie Author tinyurl.aren’tyousmart etc. Now that’s marketing.

Image Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight

Pretend You are the NSA; Have a Look at My Files

I have an appointment that will take most of the day, however I wanted to give you something to help you along whatever path you are on right now in your writing process.


I am on RebelMouse which picks up every little thing I look at and then spews it out through a link.

Take a look at what I’ve been looking at through my RebelMouse account.

No time for pruning and cutting so it’s all about books, technology and some decorating, which is a side-passion of mine.

I am working on a monster post for your book launch and continual marketing plans. I’ve even come across a great template so that you may follow through it step-by-step.

That is coming tomorrow or the next day.

Happy Writing!